“The ambiguity will be especially felt in regard to potential carve-outs from the labelling requirements, whether that’s for small businesses, for whom the regulations could prove burdensome, or specific food-purchasing scenarios and where food becomes prepacked for direct sale and subject to the labelling requirements,” said Cartwright.
“It should also be remembered that food prepacked for direct sale forms only a small proportion of the out-of-home market, and full ingredient labelling regulations should not be seen as a singular solution,” he added.
He called for better training and robust staff procedures for incident handling.
‘Natasha’s Law’, named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died in 2016 after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette, was announced by environment secretary Michael Gove on 25 June.
It requires all pre-packed sandwiches sold on premises where they were prepared to carry a full ingredients list. Foodservice businesses are expected to finance this.
The law will be enforceable in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from summer 2021. It supports the most stringent of four options originally debated. The other choices were: allergen-only labelling; ‘ask the staff’ labels on products; and promoting best practice to businesses.